Stevenage picked up a vital three points with a 2-0 win against Swindon Town this evening at The Lamex Stadium.
Goals from Lucas Akins and Filipe Morais gave Boro a deserved win with a hard working performance against a neat and tidy, yet goalless Robins side.
Graham Westley made four changes to the team which lost at Oldham with Jimmy Smith, Simon Heslop, Michael Doughty and Lucas Akins all being recalled. Ben Chorley was suspended, Sam Wedgbury was on the bench and both Dean Parrett and Marcus Haber missed out.
The opening exchanges in this one were fairly even with a Kasim shot that flew over the only effort on goal in the opening 10 minutes.
On 13 minutes an excellent first time passing move in the middle of the park from Swindon eventually saw the ball swung out to Alex Pritchard. The Spurs loanee advanced to the byline and cut the ball back to Ranger, who saw his initial shot blocked by Jones and his follow up header straight at Day.
Stevenage were matching their opponents but had to wait until the 16th minute for their first real chance, Zoko knocking the ball down for Akins who controlled with his chest before attempting a first time effort which skewed wide.
On 27 minutes Boro had the ball in the back of the net but it was ruled out for offside. Smith collected a short corner and returned the ball to Morais who swung the ball in for Zoko to nod past Fotheringham, but the linesman’s flag went up and the scores remained goalless.
Swindon, as they’d shown in two previous encounters this season, were neat and tidy in possession and created two good chances through Pritchard just past the half hour.
First he linked up with Ranger before firing in an effort from distance which took a deflection and looped onto the bar, with Boro clearing. Then minutes later he was again causing havoc, nipping in between Boro’s defence and seeing another shot deflect behind.
However it was Stevenage who took the lead eight minutes before the break. A poor clearance from Swindon was fed first time by Doughty to Akins and the big front man turned his man on the edge of the area before slotting left-footed past Fotheringham into the far corner. A lovely finish.
Ryan Mason forced a flying save from Day on 42 minutes with a direct free-kick whilst Freeman had the final effort of the half, evading two players and advancing into the area before firing over.
The start of the second half was all Boro. Six minutes in Freeman went down the left flank and fired in a cross. Swindon headed clear but only as far as Morais whose shot was deflected behind for the first of a series of corners as the hosts kept up the pressure.
That pressure was reward on 54 minutes when Stevenage doubled their lead from the spot. Zoko was brought down in the box as he turned his defender and Morais coolly slotted home his eighth of the season.
Not content with playing a key role in that goal Zoko set about getting his own, picking up a loose ball and running at the Robins’ defence before firing just past the post. It would have been a brilliant strike.
Even when Swindon did come forward they were thwarted by stout Boro defending; a last ditch interception from Smith preventing Ranger going through on goal whilst Ashton slid in to prevent Pritchard from getting a shot off.
On 68 minutes Doughty intercepted possession on the right and ran the length of the half before winning a corner. Freeman came short to gather the set play, turned sharply and fired in a fierce shot which was blocked.
Not long after there were ole’s on the East Terrace as Doughty showed neat footwork to evade three challenges in the middle of the park, whilst sub Darius Charles’ fancy feet saw him take two Swindon players out of the game in one go.
Fellow substitute Jordan Burrow had a chance to seal the win with a third when he was put through, but the defence recovered to prevent the youngster from putting gloss on the victory.
Swindon pushed for a consolation in the final few minutes, with Mason seeing one shot blocked and a late free-kick turned behind by Day, but Boro stood firm to pick up a clean sheet and most importantly three points in an impressive performance.
Stevenage: Day, Smith, Jones, Ashton, Hartley, Morais (Burrow 81), Heslop, Doughty, Freeman (Deacon 90), Akins, Zoko (Charles 81)
Subs not used: A.Smith, Wedgbury, Tounkara, Andrade
Swindon: Fotheringham, Thompson (Byrne 71), Hall, Branco, Ward, Mason, Kasim, Luongo, N’Guessan (Barker 61), Ranger, Pritchard (Storey 79)
Subs not used: Belford, Harley, Thompson, Bartram
Attendance: 2,167 (328 away)